Tuesday, July 16, 2013

They Choose to be Poor, Redux

A few Mercury Retrograde cycles back, I foolishly picked a fight with a certain publisher regarding poverty, how crappy their books were, and why they had utterly failed to anticipate technological trends and thus made piracy inevitable. Insofar as I'm concerned, I still feel that way.

One of their 'big name' authors appeared and in response to my comments, replied that anyone in the situation I described 'chooses to be poor.' If you know me well, then you know that them's fighting words. I won't even acknowledge that the individual who pulled that shit exists anymore. But I'll continue punching holes in that stupid-ass theory until the suburban privilege and complete incoherence regarding our economic conditions bleeds out all over the floor.

Because that, my friends, is bullshit.
“In what appears to have been a gesture of goodwill gone haywire, McDonald's recently teamed up with Visa to create a financial planning site for its low-pay workforce. Unfortunately, whoever wrote the thing seems to have been literally incapable of imagining of how a fast food employee could survive on a minimum wage income. As ThinkProgress and other outlets have reported, the site includes a sample budget that, among other laughable assumptions, presumes that workers will have a second job.”
  Please, take a moment to take a serious look at how the miniscule financial situation of the poverty stricken takes shape.

We live in a country where, since the housing bubble - created by shady banks - ingloriously imploded there has been a very slow recovery. The same forces that argue they've been 'stifled' by regulation (please: this situation was created by the destruction of legislation that kept them from pulling this shit, like Glass-Steagall) and their inability to pay everyone equally. Thus, the current argument from certain sectors (like the Koch brothers) is that we need to demolish the minimum wage... A wage that people still can't survive on. Our 'financial sooth-sayers', worthless as they are and now without their powers of financial levitation, say that we may repair all the damage and return to where we were in 2007... in 2025.

Twelve. Fucking. Years. From. Now.

Anyone that says someone 'chooses to be poor' knows fuck all about poverty, and should be verbally abused until they understand that their fairy-tale construct of how the world works is bogus.

Hence, as my last link: he's Bill Moyers and Economist Richard Wolff discussing 'Capitalism Run Wild.'

To quote Wolff:
“Often people cling all the harder to an idea precisely because the reality is so different and becoming more different. The myth of equal opportunity is more attractive, more beautiful the more they know that it is slipping away...”

Equal opportunity doesn't presently exist. And don't lie to yourself or anyone else about it. What we face now is Plutocracy, and the end result of letting corporate structures and those that own them gain ever more power, money, and influence over our country.



Morgan Eckstein said...

I worked in food service for twenty years (ten as a manager); and quite honestly the system is designed to keep you poor and living paycheck to paycheck. I went to college to escape that type of job--while there, the economy melted down (it was already headed that way) and now I am poor with massive student loans. And so it goes.

Jason Miller, said...

yes yes yes Jack!

If I could somehow SUPERLIKE this I would

Anonymous said...

The fact there is even debate about this at this point in time, when the reality of the system(basically a tug of war between liberal capitalism and neo-corporatism with both sides being stupid andhose bad options crowds out discussion of a frank and honest discussion of what must be done. evil)is plain to see for all is... depressing. It is especially depressing considering that the framing of the debate between those bad options crowds out any real answer to the question "what is to be done".

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